“It will be our turn next” is no longer a good strategy for opposition, and humble community engagement works better: recent lessons from Ireland

Perhaps there are some useful lessons for UK economics from the current coalition government in Ireland? It used to be said, perhaps too cynically, that the only difference between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail was that one party was in power and other’s turn was next.
However, in the election following the banking crisis in Ireland and with heavy voter disenchantment with all the main parties, FF lost power massively but FG only gained enough votes to govern by forming a coalition with the Irish Labour party.
To date the policies of the Irish coalition government have usually been summarised as “hardship”, for example with reductions in benefits and with further job losses at a time of high unemployment.
However, recent polls indicate that FF in opposition to the coalition has managed to regain some credibility with voters through their humility in part, back from a very low point.
The economic position in Ireland has also changed a little following the Anglo Irish Bank debt deal with the European Central Bank.
This recent deal and Fianna Fail’s poll surge may now force the coalition government to ease up on hardship,with talk now of a “citizen’s dividend” in the press. Hopefully, this could be a welcome turning point for the Irish economy. Link:

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